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Empty Planet

The Shock of Global Population Decline
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)
Regular price: £19.99
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Summary

A radical, provocative argument that the global population will soon begin to decline, dramatically reshaping the social, political and economic landscape.

For half a century, statisticians, pundits and politicians have warned that a burgeoning planetary population will soon overwhelm the earth's resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different kind of alarm. Rather than growing exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline. 

Throughout history, depopulation was the product of catastrophe: ice ages, plagues, the collapse of civilisations. This time, however, we're thinning ourselves deliberately, by choosing to have fewer babies than we need to replace ourselves. In much of the developed and developing world, that decline is already underway, as urbanisation, women's empowerment and waning religiosity lead to smaller and smaller families. In Empty Planet, Ibbitson and Bricker travel from South Florida to Sao Paulo, Seoul to Nairobi, Brussels to Delhi to Beijing, drawing on a wealth of research and firsthand reporting to illustrate the dramatic consequences of this population decline - and to show us why the rest of the developing world will soon join in. 

They find that a smaller global population will bring with it a number of benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; good jobs will prompt innovation; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; and falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women. But enormous disruption lies ahead, too. We can already see the effects in Europe and parts of Asia, as aging populations and worker shortages weaken the economy and impose crippling demands on health care and vital social services. There may be earth-shaking implications on a geopolitical scale as well. 

Empty Planet is a hugely important book for our times. Captivating and persuasive, it is a story about urbanisation, access to education and the empowerment of women to choose their own destinies. It is about the secularisation of societies and the vital role that immigration has to play in our futures.

Rigorously researched and deeply compelling, Empty Planet offers a vision of a future that we can no longer prevent - but that we can shape, if we choose to.

©2019 Darrell Bricker & John Ibbitson (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Riveting and vitally important." (Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now)

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  • 24-03-19

Accurate, well written, well read

Factually accurate book.. Unbiased. Really enjoyed the perspective presented in this book. Covers a full range of countries.

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Dire don’t bother

An interesting subject but this is merely the usual liberal bashing of the west and appears to be a plug for the Canadian left without seeing the contradictions within its own arguments for unfettered global migration. Suggest the authors study more of the history of humanity before writing again

0 of 1 people found this review helpful